Gregory (Jeff Bridges) wants to find a wife for intellectual stimulation and platonic companionship.
He purposely chooses Rose (Barbra Streisand), who is an ugly-duckling, frumpy professor because he doesn't want his marriage to have physical temptations. Rose falls in love with Gregory and wants to make love. Gregory rebuffs her and leaves for Europe.
Rose works out at the gym and gets a makeover. The viewer is supposed to believe that Rose is now gorgeous and irresistible, even though Rose looks just like Barbra Streisand. Gregory comes back and is shocked by the new Rose. He says that he found her attractive, even before Rose's transformation. Rose tells him she can't keep up with the new beauty regiment. They decide to continue with their marriage.
The film ends with happy music playing in the background as the two look around puzzled.